Happy New Year!
Another semester, another schedule, and, of course, another birthday. January, as you can see, is generally a time full of adjustment.
Back on the 10th, I turned 21. A couple of weeks ago, it hit me while talking to my dad that 21 is really the last birthday one looks forward to as a kid. Five is the last time you can tell people your age on one hand; 10 is the last time you can use both and the first time you hit double digits. At 13, you’re finally a teenager and at 15 you can actually drive a car. After one grueling year, you can finally drive without your mother screaming in your ear at 16. At 17, you are simultaneously excited for the fact that you’ll soon be an adult, but also scared that you’ll soon be an adult. Then, finally, at 18, you can sign your own parental slips, call those 1-800 numbers you saw on toy commercials as a kid, and laugh at your younger child siblings. After that, it kind of simmers down until you hit 21.
The United States is odd in that it joins the likes of Egypt, Cameroon, Indonesia, Tonga, Oman, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Solomon Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Tajikistan, and Kazakstan as having a high drinking age of 21. I’m going to venture and guess that you didn’t know half of those countries. In contrast, most other places in the West/Americas mark the age at 18, and some even have it at 16. But it doesn’t matter, because the overwhelming majority of people who do end up drinking most likely started doing so before they reached 21. Having not grown up in a house where my parents drank alcohol, it’s been a little odd to me to suddenly be able to legally do something that so many of my peers do underage and strive to be able to do legally. I think that, like other topics, it seems like something that everyone does unless you stop to observe. Only then when you look around do you observe that it’s a much smaller percentage than what Budweiser would have you think.
Either way, I’ve reached the last ‘fun’ birthday. Save for finally being able to rent a car at 25 and formally kicked off of my parent’s insurance at 26, all of the good good birthdays (while young) are about over. It’s odd to step back and reflect on all of those pivotal moments; where I was in my personal journey, favorite songs of the time, and which iPhone/iPods were out at the time. But now, it’s time to enjoy today, the moment, 64% through my time at Vanderbilt.
Here’s to 21, and here’s to 2015.